Plans to build a memorial park at the site of the tragic collapse of the Salvation Army thrift store on June 5, 2013 are moving forward: the 22nd and Market Memorial Committee, formed soon after the collapse, chose local artist Barbara Fox last week to design a memorial sculpture at the park.
The contest was open to only students and alumni of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where victim Anne Bryan was a student. Fox is a 1988 graduate of the school who currently does art restorations and is an art teacher at Montessori Children’s House of Valley Forge.
Fox said her initial plan for the space involved some sort of fountain or water feature, but once she visited the space, which is long and narrow, she decided to re-think her plan for the park.
The winning design includes a flat house-shaped piece with seven windows that each victim’s family would be allowed to customize, such as the color of the glass or the texture of the glass, to give them special meaning. The names of the six victims would be etched into the granite over each window. The seventh window would be for individuals who were injured in the collapse. Above that window it would say “for those we remember.”
”I’m hoping it’ll be a place people can go and meditate and relax and think about their own loved ones and their own families,” said Fox, adding that she hoped that the memorial would serve as a gathering place that would also help the community heal.
A group of committee members and experts for the park will determine where and how the memorial will fit into the park.
“All of the family members were moved by Barb’s [Fox] ability to capture and reflect the meaning of the memorial,” said Nancy Winkler, committee co-chair and mother of Bryan, in a press release. “We are so appreciative of all the work and emotion Barb invested into developing her concept.”
Fox will be working with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) to design and complete the park. There will be a design workshop in October to bring together landscape architects and designers to discuss the design. The park will also include bluestone paving and massive stone benches, as well as flowering trees and ornamental grasses.
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Although the Salvation Army donated the land for the park, the committee has been conducting a fundraising campaign to generate the money to pay for construction, estimated to cost about $600,000. About $220,000 has been either collected or pledged to date.
The park officially breaks ground in spring 2015. A single tree was planted to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy.
Image c/o Ceisler Media-30-
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